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Is Blackpool’s Home Form Misleading?

Every football team wants to make their own home a fortress. When you are winning games at home consistently, all it takes is a few wins away from home, and promotion can be a realistic target.

Blackpool are just one of those teams in League One this season that have made their home a fortress, with The Seasiders having picked up 10 wins, and 32 points, in 15 games at Bloomfield Road.

It is not only points Blackpool lead the home table on, but also goals scored, with an impressive 32 goals in those 15 games, averaging out at just over two goals per game.

It is their away form that has stopped Blackpool from seeing themselves any higher up the table, sitting embarrassingly in 15th, with just two away wins all season, coming against Barnsley and Portsmouth.

In all competitions, Blackpool have in fact won seven on the bounce, including a win in the FA Cup against Forest Green Rovers, and two wins in the EFL Trophy against Burton and Barnsley.

Despite seemingly being so good at home, the stats surrounding them are slightly misleading.

Played More Games

Stats like these are usually taken out of context. Blackpool may have had the most wins at home, and have picked up the most points at home, but the fact they have also played the most games at home has seemingly been ignored.

Currently, there are three teams that sit below Blackpool in the home form table, that have played less games than them, but could overtake them when those games are played.

Bolton sit in second having played two games less, and have picked up 28 points, whereas Peterborough and Oxford are 4th and 5th respectively, having played 12 games at home, and have picked up 25 and 24 points.

This means that there are three teams in the league that, should they win those extra games at home, could have a better home form than Blackpool.

Not to mentioned, Blackpool have in fact lost three times at home already this season, against Derby, Peterborough and Northampton.

Portsmouth, Peterborough, Oxford and Stevenage have all failed to win less times than The Seasiders at home so far this season, with Bolton and Derby having lost the same amount of games.

So, whilst the number on paper look good for Blackpool, it is only seemingly because they have played more games at home than anyone else this season.

They Struggle Against The Better Sides

Blackpool have a history of performing against the better sides, no matter which division they are in, but this season, the script has been completely flipped, as they seemingly struggle to play against some of the better teams.

Out of all the teams currently residing within the top 10 of League One, Blackpool have picked up one win in five games, with that win coming against surprise package Stevenage, where The Seasiders ran out 3-0 winners.

Early on in the season, Blackpool laboured to a third successive 0-0 draw, against a poor Leyton Orient side.

After a huge 4-0 win away against then league leaders Portsmouth, Blackpool, again, struggled, as they lost 2-1 against Northampton.

The other two defeats were more embarrassing for The Seasiders. The first came against Derby County, as The Rams sat behind the ball, and waited for their opportunity on the counter attack.

Derby executed their plan perfectly, as some superior finishing handed the away side a 3-1 win, with Blackpool target Martyn Waghorn finishing off the scoring.

The Seasiders did not learn their lesson however, as Blackpool lost against Peterborough towards the end of October, as they were, again, punished for not taking their chances.

Blackpool were run ragged in the first half, having struggled from the first whistle to deal with Peterborough’s attacking force. Their pace and power going forward stretched Blackpool, as they fell behind early on.

The Seasiders only really got going once they were losing 3-0 and down to 10 men, with Olly Casey getting sent off, and Harrison Burrows scoring from the resulting free kick.

There was some fight left in them though, as two goals in four minutes reduced the deficit to 3-2, but Peterborough held firm as Blackpool wasted chance after chanced, as Ephron Mason-Clark killed the game off in injury time, with his goal making it 4-2.

Even if we take into consideration Blackpool’s current seven wins at home on the bounce, the teams they have won against are less than impressive.

A win against Forest Green in the FA Cup, a side who are bottom of League Two, a 3-0 win against second bottom Carlisle, who are the worst away team in the league. A 2-0 win against 20th place Exeter, where two wonder goals from Albie Morgan won a game of very few chances.

A slender 2-1 win against 19th placed Burton Albion in the EFL Trophy rounds off the less than impressive victories for The Seasiders in this time period, as Blackpool, again, failed to impress at home.

Their other three wins were slightly more impressive against some better opposition. Blackpool had to come from behind to beat playoff chasing Barnsley 2-1 in the EFL Trophy, whilst they also managed a 2-0 win against Lincoln and a 3-1 win against Bristol Rovers.

Altogether, it shows that Blackpool have benefitted from playing some of the lesser sides in the league, and it will be interesting to see how their home form continues after their next run of games at Bloomfield Road, including two visits from Bolton and Premier League side Nottingham Forest in their FA Cup replay.

Whilst Blackpool’s home form is not something we should entirely ignore, as yes, they do make it hard for teams to come and play their own game, let alone pick up a result, but the stats should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Having mostly played against teams in the bottom half of the table, any side looking to get promoted should realistically be winning the majority of the games. When The Seasiders start to pick up points against the teams around them, and in the playoff places, then the stats will start to look more convincing.

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